Doctoral Certificate in STEP

PhD students from outside of the Princeton School of Public and International Affairs may pursue a Doctoral Certificate in Science, Technology, and Environmental Policy. The certificate program allows PhD candidates to broaden their education to include SPIA courses and an advanced policy research project, typically related to their thesis, that draws on the policy-relevant social sciences.

Most often, PhD candidates have applied for and are supported by the HMEI-STEP or CITP-STEP Fellowships, which provide them the structure and funding support to pursue a STEP certificate. However, PhD candidates who are not part of these fellowship programs may also pursue the certificate. The PhD certificate requirements (listed below) are the same with or without a fellowship.

Requirements for Doctoral Certificate in Science, Technology and Environmental Policy (STEP)

PhD candidates pursuing the certificate are required to complete three (3) graduate-level courses in the Princeton School of Public and International Affairs. Graduate students must take at least one course in each of the following categories:

  1. One non-science and technology SPIA graduate courses, to encourage students to develop general knowledge in public policy topics. Please search the Princeton Course Catalog for a full course listing.
  2. One SPIA STEP-approved science and technology policy course (see below for approved course list)
  3. An elective (any SPIA graduate-level course)

All courses must be taken for academic credit prior to a student entering DCE status.

Faculty Advising:
All students applying for a certificate must identify a SPIA faculty member (who cannot be the student’s primary thesis adviser) to serve as their adviser for the program. (Non-SPIA faculty who are affiliated with a SPIA center may, with permission of the STEP Certificate director, serve as an adviser.)

Advanced Policy Paper:
PhD candidates must also meet the advanced policy paper requirement. Students should work with a STEP faculty advisor to ensure the paper satisfies these requirements. This paper must be deemed of publishable quality and is often developed as a chapter of the student’s dissertation. Candidates must also fulfill the requirements of their home department.


Students interested in obtaining the STEP certificate should complete the Certificate Declaration form online and reach out to the Certificate Director to discuss course selection and advising.

HMEI-STEP and CITP-STEP Fellowships

The HMEI-STEP Fellows and CITP-STEP Fellows are Princeton PhD candidates in departments outside of the Princeton School of Public and International Affairs, usually (but not exclusively) from science and engineering departments. Fellows are usually selected in their second or third year.

Each of the fellowships offer half financial support for two years (stipend and tuition), plus additional benefits outlined on the fellowship websites linked below.

Some requirements and benefits for these fellowships differ. Please visit the following links for more information and to access the applications:

Water sample being collected.

HMEI-STEP Fellowship

Energy and Environmental Science Policy
image for CITP-STEP link

CITP-STEP Fellowship

Communication and Information Technology Science Policy

STEP Certificate Director

Elke U. Weber

Elke U. Weber
  • Professor of Psychology & Public Affairs; Gerhard R. Andlinger Professor in Energy & the Environment